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How to encourage a love for Math

Most kids (and a lot of adults) dread Math. ‘I’m not good with numbers!’ or ‘It’s so boring!’ Others find no relevance in borng drills or abstract equations. ‘It’s not like I’ll ever need algebra in real life!’

But Math can be interesting and relevant. It can teach kids to think systematically, and break problems into manageable parts (both very crucial skills in real life!). But to get kids to practice Math without kicking and screaming, parents need to put Math in a different light.Here are some ways.

Talk about money!

Who doesn’t love money? But money involves Math: adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing. Kids can practice handling money (and Math!) with board games like Monopoly. Or if you’re at the grocery store or at a restaurant, ask them to give the money to the cashier or waiter and compute the change. You can also give them a small amount of money when thy’re at a toy store. ‘Here’s xx amount. You can pick any toy if it falls within that amount.’ Encourage them to save money in a piggy bank, and keeping track of their money in a small notebook.

Watch science shows

Everything that kids find really cool—robots, computers, spaceships—is a feat of engineering and physics. Discovery Channel has excellent programs that talk about the science and math of everyday objects. Try Mythbusters or Fight Science.

Get educational software

There are many good educational software that teach Math through games. You can buy computer software, or invest in a system like Leapfrog where you can buy cartridges for specific age-groups. If you introduce educational games at a very early age, your child will not develop any Math phobia. He learns at his own pace, in a fun and interesting way. By the time Math is taught in the classroom, he will confidently answer his Math homework.

Play logic games

Math involves abstract thinking, a skill that can be developed by other games that aren’t necessarily numbers-based. Look for activities where kids must identify ‘givens’ and then plan their next course of action through logical steps: chess, Battleship, Sudoku, or logic word puzzles. It may not feel like Math, but they develop the kind of systematic thinking and even patience that is required by Math problems.

Photo from bodnar2010-2011.wikispaces.com

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